How to know that you hate women

(Photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky)

(Photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky)

Here’s a sure-fire way to know that you hate women: when an incident of intimate partner violence in which a man knocks a woman unconscious gains national attention and every question or comment you think to make has to do with her behavior, you really hate women. Like, despise.

There is no other explanation. There is no “I need all the facts.” There is no excuse. You hate women. Own it.

Now, you probably don’t believe you hate women. You probably honestly think you’re being an objective observer whose only interest is the truth. You are delusional.

We have this problem in our discourse around the most important challenges we face where we feel we have to be “fair to both sides.” But sometimes, one of those sides is subjugation and oppression. If you’re OK with legitimizing that side in the interest of “fairness,” you’re essentially saying you’re OK with oppression as a part of the human condition. That’s some hateful shit.

Violence against women doesn’t deserve a “fair” hearing. There should be no justifications offered, no rationalizing, no equivocating. Violence against women should be intolerable. But every time we are called upon to collectively denounce that violence, there’s a section of the choir that starts singing from a different set of sheet music.

“Well, I don’t believe he should have hit her, but she also shouldn’t have…

“Hitting women is wrong, but if you’re going to step to a man like a man…”

She has a responsibility to her family…”

She stayed with him, so obviously she’s condoning that behavior…”

“It’s none of our business what happens between…”

“What did she expect?”

Hate. It’s all hate. Because if you can look at the history of women being beaten and battered into silence and second-class citizenship, and still ask if they are at all to blame for the violence visited upon them, there’s nothing else to call that.

There is a tendency to judge the actions of those with the least amount of power the same as those with more power and then ask, “Isn’t that what equality means?” It’s a clever rhetorical evasion of the issue. Equality is the goal, but to pretend that we actually exist as equals right now is to ignore reality. Like it or not, we all carry history with us in our personal interactions. The history of violence against women is one where women’s bodies are a battleground in a struggle for power. Punches, kicks, weapons, and the threat of death have been used to assert dominance and deny women autonomy, at home and out in the rest of the world.

That’s why it’s not a matter of it being wrong for a man to hit a woman because he may be physically stronger than her. It’s not about women being delicate. That line of thinking is standing on the right side of the issue for the wrong reasons. It reinforces patriarchal thinking about a man’s duty being protection.

No, violence against women is a scourge because it establishes a hierarchy of power. It is a means of ensuring submission. It assures the persistence of inequality through terror.

And if it any moment you can find yourself arguing that that may somehow be OK, you simply hate women. Consider that when you’re collecting all the facts.

MychalMychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation Magazine, as well as columnist for and Salon. As a freelance writer, social commentator, and mental health advocate his work has been seen online in outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Al Jazeera English, Gawker, The Guardian,, Huffington Post, The Root, and The Grio.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation Magazine, as well as columnist for and Salon.

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